When We First Made Tools

  • Published on: 26 March 2019
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    The tools made by our human ancestors may not seem like much when you compare them to the screen you’re looking at right now but their creation represents a pivotal moment in the origin of technology and in the evolution of our lineage.

    Thanks to Fabrizio De Rossi, Julio Lacerda and everyone else at Studio 252mya for their excellent hominin illustrations. You can find more of their work here: https://252mya.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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    De Heinzelin, J., Clark, J. D., White, T., Hart, W., Renne, P., WoldeGabriel, G., ... & Vrba, E. (1999). Environment and behavior of 2.5-million-year-old Bouri hominids. Science, 284(5414), 625-629.
    Ferraro, J. V., Plummer, T. W., Pobiner, B. L., Oliver, J. S., Bishop, L. C., Braun, D. R., ... & Hertel, F. (2013). Earliest archaeological evidence of persistent hominin carnivory. PloS one, 8(4), e62174.
    Gabunia, L., Antón, S. C., Lordkipanidze, D., Vekua, A., Justus, A., & Swisher III, C. C. (2001). Dmanisi and dispersal. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews: Issues, News, and Reviews, 10(5), 158-170.
    Harmand, S., Lewis, J. E., Feibel, C. S., Lepre, C. J., Prat, S., Lenoble, A., ... & Taylor, N. (2015). 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 521(7552), 310.
    Kappelman, J. (2018). An early hominin arrival in Asia. Nature, 480.
    Scott, G. R., & Gibert, L. (2009). The oldest hand-axes in Europe. Nature, 461(7260), 82.
    Stout, D., Toth, N., Schick, K., & Chaminade, T. (2008). Neural correlates of Early Stone Age toolmaking: technology, language and cognition in human evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 363(1499), 1939-1949.
    Tuffreau, A., Lamotte, A., & Marcy, J. L. (1997). Land-use and site function in Acheulean complexes of the Somme Valley. World Archaeology, 29(2), 225-241.
    Williams-Hatala, E. M., Hatala, K. G., Gordon, M., Key, A., Kasper, M., & Kivell, T. L. (2018). The manual pressures of stone tool behaviors and their implications for the evolution of the human hand. Journal of human evolution, 119, 14-26.
    Zhu, Z., Dennell, R., Huang, W., Wu, Y., Qiu, S., Yang, S., ... & Ouyang, T. (2018). Hominin occupation of the Chinese Loess Plateau since about 2.1 million years ago. Nature, 559(7715), 608.
  • Runtime : 10:10
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Middle Awash Valley Ethiopia human ancestors tools stone tools Oldowan tools Lomekwian tools australopithecines Bouri Kanjera South brains Homo erectus Acheulean toolkit hand-axe Dmanisi anthropology hominins


  • David Bordayo
    David Bordayo   14 hours ago

    The first tool used was the First hand Flesh-Light ! 😂

  • Richard Deese
    Richard Deese   2 days ago

    Thanks! Believe me, I'm one of those who is quite impressed by our ancestors' abilities to make & use tools! Such things as obsidian flake knives take extreme patience & deep skills, which would have to have been passed on from parent to child. That's almost certainly one of the very first such skills (along with making fire & things like stone spear points & arrow heads) that became the basis for the apprenticeship & guilds of later *eons*. ;) Particularly in the case of glass-like stones, they may have even traded for them between near tribes; another basis of later societies. All these things signaled the Rise of the Planet of the Hominins! 𝓡𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲 𝓣𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲.

  • Akani Godi
    Akani Godi   6 days ago

    What kind of map is the one shown in 04:00? Is it showing median elevation or something else

  • Call Me Perseverer1
    Call Me Perseverer1   1 weeks ago

    Human: makes stone toolsAdvancement Made!: Stone Age Many years laterHuman: Plays Minecraft, Also Human: When have I learned this before?

  • Robert Griffin
    Robert Griffin   1 weeks ago

    It was the Iodine found in fish that was necessary for our greater brain growth .

  • Adam Sanders
    Adam Sanders   1 weeks ago

    Damn. We've been looking for tools in oldowan places.

  • John Dee
    John Dee   1 weeks ago

    Man shapes rock.Rock shapes man.

  • Stan TheObserver
    Stan TheObserver   1 weeks ago

    Actually,the first weapon and the first jump in mankind evolution...was the ability to make a fist. How we killed off the more ape like hominids.

  • Hillary Clintub
    Hillary Clintub   1 weeks ago

    Excellent! The invention of weapons like this was an important step in the evolution of humans. It made us more competitive with other animals with better biological weapons such as fangs, horns and claws. Without our weapons, we're extremely vulnerable to better natural predators.

  • David Howells
    David Howells   2 weeks ago

    The time when stone tools were cutting edge technology.

  • Quentin ALEXANDRE
    Quentin ALEXANDRE   2 weeks ago

    What is the name of the music used as background, so calming and soothing!

  • Hailey Yang
    Hailey Yang   2 weeks ago

    how do you know they’re not just rocks 😂

  • BioChemoPhysio Science

    Why does brain evolution follow the Leannean system, while everything else follows the Darwinian system?

  • jose juarez
    jose juarez   3 weeks ago

    We wuz the ancient Chinese n shhhhhiiiieeeettttt

  • fishy paw
    fishy paw   3 weeks ago

    “We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.”

  • Stones and Bones
    Stones and Bones   3 weeks ago

    We find these kinds of tools in Montana. Very large ones & teeny tiny ones. We are much older than we can even wrap our brains around. We've started over from scratch many times. Truly pinpointing dates before the last ice age is nearly impossible.Finding tools in the Americas that match 60,000 year old tools from Africa is what really opened my eyes to the ignorance.A lot of Natives live in Montana. Some haven't muddled up their dna. It's interesting and easy to tell whose ancestors walked in from from what direction. Some of the natives in the US west are of African descent.

  • G.G
    G.G   4 weeks ago

    Baš ste kurac

  • Stefan Veenstra
    Stefan Veenstra   1 months ago

    And then everything got automated and modern humans rapidly devolve in Homo Laziness.

  • Jake
    Jake   1 months ago

    It was right after we encountered that big black rectangle. (c:

  • MrSamulai
    MrSamulai   1 months ago

    When man has nothing, he can make simple tools.When he has simple tools, he can make complex tools.When he has complex tools, he's unstoppable.

  • Greg Reeves-Smith
    Greg Reeves-Smith   1 months ago

    What’s this about “our bigger brains...”? Neanderthal’s brains were similar sized, if not bigger than Homo Sapiens, weren’t they?

  • S
    S   1 months ago

    Perhaps Finger nail is a useless anatomy, like the appendix and the tail bone, for the expanding finger tip’s usage.

  • S
    S   1 months ago

    Can you please make a Video on the Evolution of Claws to Finger Nails. Whether the change is due to the increased requirement of dexterity and sensitivity. Did this have to do with Human’s increase in brain intelligence? Did the brain size or the change in finger nails come before? Other species like a frog and other reptilians have no claws and have sensitive finger tips without finger nails. And also they are not intelligent like Humans. Lastly, other apes species have also lost their claws for finger nails and yet they do not have our Human intelligence, so perhaps this claw to nails have nothing to do with our increased brain power. I look forward to your video.

  • paul signac
    paul signac   1 months ago

    The first time two morons conceived?

  • MVR The red baron
    MVR The red baron   1 months ago

    Imagine the uproar if we unearthed a Swiss army knife, dated 1.5 million years ago?

  • Just Hunt46
    Just Hunt46   1 months ago

    The cordless rock is what really changed our ancestors lives

  • Jayah Bocanegra
    Jayah Bocanegra   1 months ago

    One thing I want to learn about is the native Americans

  • L Edwin
    L Edwin   1 months ago

    Let your hair down.😍

  • Sawdawn_ Rp
    Sawdawn_ Rp   1 months ago

    Ancestors: struggles to survive hunting and eating meat to keep themselves well fedVegans: literally want to destroy our brain development by not eating meatAncestors: shame

  • chairmanofrussia
    chairmanofrussia   1 months ago

    Can you imagine paleontologists finding machine guns in the fossil record 2.5 Million years from now?

  • Allan Gow
    Allan Gow   1 months ago

    I love these videos, excellent presenter.

  • Moonlightz
    Moonlightz   1 months ago

    Who came from keystone middle school

  • Charles B.
    Charles B.   1 months ago

    Very informative & well-delivered 👍

  • Charles B.
    Charles B.   1 months ago

    Very informative & well-delivered 👍

  • Crypto Guy
    Crypto Guy   1 months ago

    Early specie used methodology not technology. Over turns of centuries and millennia the methodologies evolved with nature. Those base methodologies are what have left us with amazing archeological finds. If we try to find signs of Technology in them, the song will remain the same.

  • kawalie
    kawalie   1 months ago

    okay but like this music is so awesome

  • Irv Hh
    Irv Hh   1 months ago

    It seems to me that fishing was a driver of brain capabilities. The fisherman must visualize the bottom of the lake when he can't actually see it.